• Apr 8th 2011 at 3:00PM
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Wave Disk Generator – Click above to watch video after the jump

Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have prototyped a potential game-changing, gasoline-burning engine that requires no transmission, crankshaft, pistons, valves, lubricants or cooling systems. The so-called Wave Disk Generator (WDG) could substantially improve the efficiency of hybrid vehicles and potentially decrease CO2 emissions by up to 90 percent compared to conventional internal combustion engines (ICE), says the team at MSU.

The WDG has a rotor with channels that trap and mix oxygen and fuel as it spins. These central inlets are blocked off, building pressure within the chamber. This causes a shock wave that ignites the compressed air and fuel, resulting in energy. The research team claims that the WDG uses 60 percent of its fuel for propulsion, thus significantly reducing the percentage of wasted gas. As a result, the generator is said to be 3.5 times more fuel efficient than a typical ICE.

The WDG's compact dimensions (it's the same size as a frying pan) would allow it to fit into the tightest of confines and its weight is claimed to be hundreds of pounds less than a conventional engine.

Last week, the prototype was presented to the Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is backing MSU's Engine Research Laboratory with $2.5 million in funding. Hit the jump to catch video of Norbert Mueller, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MSU, describing the WDG. Hat tip to Phil!

[Source: MSNBC]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      How is this not simply a poor turbine, lacking a compressor/recuperator? Micro-turbines don't even get 30% efficiency, and by design they would seem to be much better than this device. I suspect that this is vaporware unless it can thoroughly substantiate these claims.
        • 4 Years Ago
        He's going to put stripes on it. That will make it go 8 to 10% faster.
        • 4 Years Ago
        jzj from what I can tell it's all integrated in the curvature design for the blades. Think similar to an impeller pump, it pulls in a working fluid compresses it and discharges it at a higher velocity and pressure. Now reconfigure the out flow to translate the energy from the high pressure discharge to rotational kinetic motion propagating the cycle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Seamus, you just described an impulse turbine.

        Nothing new here. I too would like to see a working example and maybe at least a CG video of its operation to see how this is different. The 'new' bits here is pretty much the way they deliver and exhaust the air-fuel mixture through clever porting.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well - in fairness this guy is not some amateur working in his garage and claiming to have discovered perpetual motion.
      He certainly has the credentials to support that he knows of what he speaks.


      It would be cool if ABG did some original reporting and contacted him for a follow-up as to what the current state of the technology is and if any public demonstrations have been done to support the claims.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mit our neu zekret vappen, vi vil vin den krieg !!
      Hey, I hope to see zuccess. Really. It would make
      a neat range-extender, generator.

      I sent a link about this to ABG almost two years ago.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one who says a gigantic, "Yeah right, I'll believe it when I see it." I'm so tired of reading about these ideas that turn out to be nothing more than an idea. I think I'll just sit around and dream of what I'd do if I won the 300 million dollar Powerball lottery since it's basically the same thing as fantasizing about this engine becoming reality. But just in case... good luck guys.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nothing like high gas prices to make the snake oil cup runneth over...

      They are comparing to a 15% efficient automotive engine to make their outrageous 3.5x claim. Where did they find one that inefficient? In a museum?

      Part two of the outrageous claim, 60% efficiency, purely theoretical, of course and most likely based on fudged numbers.

      We don't even know if this thing would spin under it's own power, if they ever get around to building a prototype. Given the video is from 2009, I would guess the prototype never worked...

        • 4 Years Ago
        Re-read. 3.5 times typical auto, not engine.
        That would be fuel to ground, not fuel to crankshaft.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The problem is poor reporting that just regurgitates info from back in 2009 when he was awarded the grant. Elsewhere I have linked a popsci article that explains that he has recently demonstrated a working prototype.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You don't get to compare a naked engine of one technology to the whole car in another. You need to compare like to like. But that isn't what was going on anyway.

        This is clearly a snake oil salesman grasping for funding.

        "In his grant application, Müller said the Wave Disk would be lighter, cheaper and five times as efficient as conventional automotive engines"

        So five times as efficient?? I guess he walked that back to 3.5X after he achieved his initial funding...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Also reminds me of the Wankel engine.

      Bet it shares the same emission issues...
      • 4 Years Ago
      It seems that the $2.5 million in funding from Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program (awarded in 2009) to MSU has produced the 'mockup', non-running model that the 'Prof' has in his hand!!!!! ........Government 'grants' in action! I wonder how many more 'millions' it will take to produce a 'running prototype' that does NOT deliver on the promises?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for the link (hadn't seen that in my [search]). Interesting that it has to 'spool up' to 2,000 rpms BEFORE you can even 'start' the engine.......keep your battery CHARGED!
        Now with a 'running prototype' he can start to 'prove' some of his efficiency and power claims.

        Let's all hope that this Shock Wave Engine 'pans out'.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The video is from 2009, when he was originally awarded the grant. According to the following article, he has recently demonstrated a working prototype:

      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a perfect range extender to be coupled with a capacitor from EEStor!
      • 4 Years Ago
      why does the thing in his hand not resemble the diagram, other than being round?
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is a wonderful mechanical engineering experiment; add a nice expensive exhaust system and a state of the art expensive emissions and injector system and you have an excellent laboratory internal combustion white elephant.

        The professor wants to use it in a hybrid with a motor/generator...fact is he would contribute more to society by losing the ICE idea and working on something more out there , like a more efficient electric plane.

        But hey, what do I know? Maybe the world needs one more variation of an ICE to add to the mountain of ICE designs that go nowhere!
        • 4 Years Ago
        If the New Scientist description is accurate, that engine would be extraordinarily noisy, shrieking like an air raid siren gone hyper. Getting adequate mufflers and sound insulation would be required. A bigger problem is the close tolerance needed between the rotating blades and the casing, difficult to maintain under high temperature operation due to thermal expansion.
        • 4 Years Ago
        New Scientist has a diagram that matches the device in the video more closely: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20928035.100-shock-wave-puts-hybrid-engines-in-a-spin.html

        But, as rogwild said below, the video is from October 2009, so who knows what the right design is supposed to be...
      • 4 Years Ago
      "gasoline-burning engine" - that's about where I lost interest....

      I'm in favor of efficiency, and 60% is better than 30%, but, seriously.........
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think all these news outlets should refuse to run articles on new ideas until they are strapped to a dyno spitting out data,

      this "In theory, this is the most efficient contraption ever dreamed up"

      just isn't going to cut it, the fact that this invention is already 2 + years old with no new updates may be the most important part of this article.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here is a pointer to the full scholarly article which evidently describes the engine that Müller and his colleagues are proposing / designing:


      It will take a better engineer and scientist than myself to understand the merit of this proposal. Looks like DARPA bought it, however. Having scanned the paper, though, I do understand why they are calling it a "generator" and not an "engine".
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for the link. Exactly what I was looking for.
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